The Central Bank of the Russian Federation announced on Sunday that several banks will switch to the Chinese card system following the suspension of Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal in Russia.
It can be recalled that Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal announced on Saturday they suspended all operations in Russia.
“We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed,” said Al Kelly, chairman and chief executive officer of Visa Inc.
On Sunday, several banks in Russia will start to issue new cards with the new Russian payments system “Mir” and China’s UnionPay.
BREAKING: Russia’s state owned Sberbank is to replace VISA and MasterCard with a new “MIR” card system in partnership with China’s Unionpay.
— Sunderland Global Media (@Sunderland_GM) March 6, 2022
According to far-left Wikipedia, “Mir does not itself issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers rather Mir provides financial institutions with Mir-branded payment products that they then use to offer credit, debit, or other programs to their customers.”
Sberbank PJSC said it’s looking at the possibility of issuing cards using Russian payments system Mir and China’s UnionPay after Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. suspended operations following the invasion of Ukraine.
The move could allow Russians to make some payments overseas, with UnionPay operating in 180 countries and regions. Visa and Mastercard said that any transactions initiated with their cards issued in Russia will no longer work outside the country from March 10.
Cards issued by domestic banks will continue to work in Russia using its payment system. Russia’s biggest lender Sberbank said it would announce timescales later.
Russia’s largest non-state lender Alfa-Bank JSC is already working on offering cards with UnionPay.
Tinkoff Bank said it currently isn’t issuing such cards, but will start to do so as it’s soon as possible. Raiffeisen Bank International AG’s Russian business said on its website that it was considering the problem.
The Bank of Russia is also temporarily reducing the amount of information commercial banks are required to publish in an effort to limit the risks from international sanctions. Starting with statements for February, banks will no longer have to release accounts prepared to national standards or make any additional disclosures on their websites, the central bank said in a statement.
The central bank of Russia advised its citizens to use cash abroad. It said Mir cards could also be used in Turkey, Vietnam, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.